October 14th, 2011

planet

daughter vs. toddler

Last year if someone asked me if I had kids, I got to say "I just had a baby, my first!"

This year I couldn't really say I "just" had anything, so I started saying "I have a daughter."

I've had to revise that though, because the way people react you can tell they get the image in their head of a daughter. They jump straight to picturing me at mother daughter brunches, leading a girl scout troop, picking flowers, shopping at the mall... all those things I'm totally jealous of, that I see my friends with older kids doing.

So no, I have to say "I have a toddler." Then the look on their face gets a little sympathy mixed in which is good. The fact that she's a girl can get clarified later in the conversation if it comes up, but most of our activities are centered around the fact that she's 16 months old and "normal" behavior for her age would get any adult diagnosed with a mental disease. Running laps around the house, yelling gibberish, dipping tomatoes in ketchup, licking a shampoo bottle, laying in the dog bed... you know. Insane.

Sometimes I see glimpses of personhood and it both scares and amuses me. A week ago we spent a good 15 minutes on the floor with me holding a piece of paper she'd brought me, and Josie making marks on it with a pen, and each time she'd put the lid on the pen, like she was showing me this whole "process" that adults do that she was totally keyed in to. She was talking through it too, not in words I could understand but in an inflection like she was explaining all this. Take the lid off the pen. Mark. Put the lid on the pen. Repeat. Every step with sound like "Dur. Dath. Ith." (Then later I when I wasn't watching as close she was trying to stick the pen in her belly button, and that's why later her whole stomach looked like someone tried to give her a spiderweb tattoo in a moving vehicle, but I digress.)

I love this age for the mix of it, the craziness one minute and then discovery and calm planning, and she's always so delighted about whatever's going on. As nice as it'd be to have a "daughter" who I could take out for coffee and have a conversation with, I know it would mean that I wouldn't have the toddler anymore, and there is something sad about that.